Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: New York, NY

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.


Hayley, 24

What do you do for a living?
I'm in transition. I'm studying to become a doctor.

Does that get you dudes?
Yes, but it's unrequited. You think scrubs are the most formless, nonsexual clothing, but I still get hit on in ORs. Even when I have a mask on and they just see my eyes.

Do you wear makeup in the OR?
Not dramatically, because the calls are at 6:30 in the morning, and I'd rather sleep than do eyeliner. I have a surgical cap. I wear a paper hairnet. Sometimes they can see my nails.

I guess if you spend all your time at the hospital you're like, "You're a lady!"
"Here's a lady! And her eyebrows are so well groomed!"

Is there are certain type of guy that you go for?
I have a specific guy type. Girls, who I primarily date, I'm way more open-minded about. But guys, I like over six feet, over thirty, ability to grow a mustache but the restraint not to, and a lot of tattoos.

What kind of girl do you like?
Definitely more butch than I am, because I'm the girly one. Smart, really smart. And personality matters a lot more. I can put up with dumb guys if they're really cute. But dumb girls, even if they're really cute, I just can't handle.

Has anyone ever offended you in the bedroom?
Not me personally, but once I had a threesome with another girl and a male-to-female transperson, who was pre-op. So she hadn't had any surgical operations to make her more of a woman, and she still had a penis. The other girl I was with kept saying a bunch of raunchy shit about sucking her cock and it made me really uncomfortable. I don't think she calls that a cock, I don't think she identifies as having a cock. I'm not sure. It seemed fine. It wasn't a screeching halt, but it threw me off.

So she was just treating her like a man.
A bit. I've dated a good number of trans-people, and you talk about their parts with the adjectives and the nouns that they prefer. If you identify as a man, I'm going to use "he" pronouns. I'm also going to say, "I'm sucking your cock", even if physically I'm going through the motions that are more akin to eating pussy. I'll call that activity sucking cock.

That's interesting.
That's more of a turn-on for them.

Do you have any dealbreakers?
I don't like people who like Ayn Rand.

This guy messaged me online the other day and I went to his profile. Favorite book: anything by Dan Brown.

What's the craziest place you've had sex?
I had sex on the Chinatown bus. Philly to New York. We had the whole back row, and it was just a very empty bus where everyone had their own seats, and everyone was five or six seats apart. The lights were off. It was fine. Nobody looked back.


Andrew, 31

What do you do for a living?
Pay contractor.

Does that get you ladies?
[Laughs] Oh man, up and down the ladder. No, it doesn't really.

What kind of girls do you like?
Attractive ones. [Friend: "Tights and knee-high boots. That's what he's attracted to."]

You like tights and knee-high boots?
No, not necessarily.

Have you ever offended anyone in the bedroom?

Has anyone ever offended you in the bedroom?

So you're a pretty easy going individual?
I haven't really been in the bedroom, other than sleeping.

Are you a virgin?
No, but… we won't go into detail about that. I may as well be, let's say that.

If you like a girl, how do you let her know you're interested?
I don't think that's happened yet.

You've never liked a girl?
I don't think so. I think I've been interested but I don't think I've ever really liked a girl the way that I should.

Why do you think that is?
I really don't know. I guess it just hasn't happened yet. I really don't have an explanation for why, but I'm certainly not worried about it.

Are you from around here?
No, I'm from Ohio.

Are the girls different here than in Ohio?
Probably. In some way. They're probably not that different, it just seems that maybe girls in New York are more fashion-conscious. That seems to be the main difference. You walk around and see people dress in current fashion, and you don't really see that in Ohio.

If a girl likes you, how should she impress you?
Impress me? I don't think she has to impress me. What I think is very rare is a girl that has a sense of propriety. I just don't really see that. I see a lot of uncouth and crass behavior in girls.

Do you think you've ever met a girl that had a sense of propriety?
Yes, I have. It might have been too far in that direction.

What do you mean? What was she like?
So conservative that it was too conservative.

Do you think it's possible for a girl to have that balance of hotness and propriety?
Well, I hope so!


Tara, 23

What do you do for a living?
I just graduated! So nothing. I studied graphic design.

What kind of guys do you go for?
Usually the tattooed and pierced guys. Like the bad-boy type. I think good guys get on my nerves. Like, they gotta open the doors for you and stuff. I don't like that, I can do it on my own.

Where's the craziest place you've had sex?
In a park at night. One of my friends dared us to do it. My ex-boyfriend talks about sex all the time. He doesn't even care. He'll just like whip things out.

Wait — what? Like whips his dick out?
No, like he'll tell other people about things that he and I did, and not ask me for permission. I like to keep it to myself.

Yeah, yeah. That's kind of a good move. What do you look for in a guy?
Someone's who's honest, first of all. I don't like liars. Well, one guy cheated on me, and lied about that. Multiple times. A friend told me. And then the girl that he cheated on me with, I overheard her on the phone. He has to be funny. He has to want to do things and not sit home all day. He has to be smart. I don't want an idiot. One who's either been in school, or is in school, and has a job or will have a job. I don't want a loser. And preferably, lately, someone who's older than me.

Yeah, I like 'em a couple years older.
I used to date younger guys — bad idea.


Sam, 25

What do you do for a living?
I'm a musician. I play the cello.

Hot. Does that get a lot of ladies?
Not as many as the guitar. I try to just be myself.

If you like a girl, how do you let her know you're interested?
Sometimes I get the urge to be very forward, and sometimes I don't even have the huevos to ask for her number.

If a girl likes you, what should she do to impress you?
Talk to me, first of all. No, seriously. If you're in a bar, be engaged. And then, I like a passionate person; be forward.

Do you have any dealbreakers with girls?
Well, when you hear too much about the future, that's not good.

Like she starts telling you about babies?
Or the man she wants to be with, whether or not it's you. If she wants someone in a specific career, or someone with money.

What's the craziest place you've had sex?
Taxi cab.

Oh damn! Like while the… damn. Did the cabby know, do you think?
Cab stopped right at the end.

How did this happen? You guys were heading home and-
Well, at the time, we both happened to be living with our parents. And we weren't planning on doing it. It just happened. Probably due to circumstances.

Yeah, living with the parents is rough.
Yeah, yeah.

How did you deal while you were living at home? Was there a lot of cab sex?
No, that was a one-time thing.


Maggie, 25

What do you do for a living?
I'm an art therapist.

What's the craziest place you've ever had sex?
In the back of my mom's car behind the church.

Okay. Was your mom in the car?

How did this happen?
I was really horny and I wanted to go and have sex, so my friend met up with me.

You met at your mom's car? You were like, "Hey, come on over and we'll go to my mom's car."
It was a long time ago.

Do you have any favorite hookup stories?
This is a really bad one. And I'm still kind of recovering from this, but, okay: I was falling for a guy really hard, I was really drunk, and I didn't realize I slept with his best friend. They're so much alike that I thought it was him.

Oh my God! How'd you realize what happened?
When I woke up. And even then, when I saw him, he was so much like the guy I was falling for that I thought it was him. He's shaking his head like, "That's fucked-up, you whore."

He doesn't want to do anything with me. That's why I'm here at the bar.

Has anything crazy happened at your therapy job?
Well, I work at a residence. And the individuals are living with schizophrenia, bi-polar, manic-depressive disorder. One of my co-workers got fired, and I took over one of his patients. So I go upstairs to tell the patient, hey, I'm gonna be your new worker. And he hasn't taken his medication. And so he's jacking off while I'm talking to him. But I don't realize this until I shake his hand and it's kind of clammy. He doesn't want to let go so I pull my hand away and then he opens up the door and exposes himself to me.

So now your hand is covered in semen, right? What did you do?
I washed my hand a thousand times and put on like ten pounds of hand sanitizer. Then later I'm in like my office, and he tries to attack me because I snitched on him. He's trying to grab a chair and throw it at my boss. But he was sent to the hospital, so now he's okay.


Edwin, 32

The bartender said you had a story for me?
The thing about the fist? It was just simple. I said, "I've never fisted anyone. On purpose!" Then it was like, one little piggy, two little piggy, three little piggy, VA-VOOMPH."

It sucked in your fist?
A little bit. Well, yes. And I swear to God, the next day, I hear, "That shit is tight, right?"

Had she had babies?
Not as far as I knew. But it was still like… it stopped being Playboy and it became National Geographic.

After that I was like, I'm not putting my penis in there again. I'm like, I don't think my penis can compete with my fist. I'm happy with what I got, but I can't compete with that.

I don't know that I've ever met a man whose penis is bigger than his fist.
You're going to need the jaws of life to get it out of you.

Has anyone ever offended you in the bedroom?
The weirdest thing I've ever heard: someone who said, "Go ahead, rape me." I was was like, ooh, ay ay ay, I dont think I could do that. Or they fetishized me to the point of "Fuck me with your big black dick." And I'm like, I'm not a person anymore, am I?

Yeah, I know, I hear all about my fucking firecrotch.
Oh, you must hate the "carpet matches the drapes" question. Usually, the nether regions match the nipples.

Do you have any crazy ex-girlfriends?
Thankfully, no. But, when I was like twenty-three, I met this girl at the bus stop. She was receptive and we got to talking. I should have asked how old this girl was, because she was just a month after her sixteenth birthday.

Oh, shit. So how did you find out?
Well, I called, and her mom answered the phone and started asking me a whole bunch of questions.

Well, that would be a hint.
Yeah. And then the girl told me her age, but she wanted to keep talking. And I'm like, no! Game over, game over, game over, man.

Interviews by Meghan Pleticha. Photography by Sean McGurn.